If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best shampoo for German Shepherds is, then we recommend the 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo (see our review below) as the best one. This soap-free and pH balanced dog shampoo not only can make your dog smells great but relieve many skin ailments that your dog might be suffering from as well.
Our Top Picks for The Best Shampoos for German Shepherds
- 4-Legger Organic Dog Conditioning Shampoo – Best Overall
- Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo – Runner Up
- Paws & Pals Oatmeal, Shea Butter & Aloe Vera Shampoo
- Lillian Ruff Dog Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner Set
- Pro Pet Works All Natural Organic Oatmeal Pet Shampoo
Best Shampoo for German Shepherds Reviews
Best German Shepherd Shampoo Overall
1. 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo
4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo is my top pick for the best shampoo for German Shepherds. This all-natural and hypoallergenic shampoo is made without ingredients that may cause allergies.
This dog shampoo is biodegradable, cruelty-free, and eco-friendly. From my experience, this shampoo works well for GSD with sensitive or allergy skin.
It’s safe and non-toxic, you won’t find any harsh chemical ingredients that can irritate your dog’s coat and skin –detergent-free, paraben-free, and sulfate-free. Sulfate is a chemical ingredient in the shampoo formulas that cause the stinging in the eye for humans and dogs alike. Most humans will be fine with a sulfate shampoo but this is not the case with dogs. This sulfate shampoo could cause your dog to get eye irritation and inflammation.
Compared to Earthbath, the scent is very strong but it doesn’t overpower your dog’s coat after rinsing him off. Initially, I was really concerned about the types of fragrance that they use. I was worried they would use a chemical fragrance since the shampoo left such a strong scent. But upon further inspection, they only use natural essential oil blend of rosemary and lemongrass.
It’s lather well, easy to lather and rinse. It washes off easier compared with other dog shampoos that I’ve used. After a bath, it leaves my GSD’s skin and coat ultra-soft and silky. There are also lavender or unscented options if you don’t like the smell of lemongrass.
2. Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo
Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo is another great alternative to choose from. Just like 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo, this shampoo is 100% all-natural, biodegradable. This means this shampoo uses 100% natural compounds without any single trace of harsh chemicals inside the shampoo — no phosphates, synthetic dyes, DEA, or any perfumes.
It is pH balanced and soap-free which keeps your dog’s skin and coat from getting irritated. I cannot stress how important it is to get a pH-balanced dog shampoo for your dog and save your dog from sudden or prolonged skin problems.
Earthbath is formulated with Oatmeal and Aloe Vera to relieve itchy skin and cure skin irritation. So not only this shampoo has a great smooth feeling, but it also helps relieve other skin disorders that your dog might be suffering from.
This shampoo also uses natural fragrances that make your dog smell even better. In total, there are 12 different scents and formulations available that you can choose from to add more variety to your dog’s bath time even though some formulas are low on scent or completely scentless.
3. Paws & Pals Oatmeal Shampoo
The Paws and Pals Dog Shampoo is formulated with some of the best ingredients that work effectively to repel fleas and ticks and it works as well as many prescription treatments.
However, I was a little bit concerned when I was looking at the ingredients list and saw they used several chemical ingredients.
This shampoo smells good and lathers up well. For ticks and fleas treatment, you need to do 2 times shampooing for maximum results. It’s easy to rinse, soapless and tear-free. Your dog won’t feel irritated if the shampoo accidentally gets into his eyes or nose.
However, the shampoo didn’t leave the coat as soft as the other dog shampoos in this list. So, I would recommend this shampoo only if your dog has fleas and ticks problems.
4. Lilian Ruff Shampoo and Conditioner
For most German Shepherds, 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo is fine, but if you need a more powerful shampoo, you may want to consider getting this Lilian Ruff Dog Shampoo, especially if your dog has a problem with fleas and ticks.
The main ingredients of this shampoo are coconut oils, lavender, aloe, and oatmeal. Lavender and coconut oils are known to be an effective repellent for fleas and ticks while aloe and oatmeal are known to be an effective moisturizer for sensitive and allergy skin.
This shampoo lathers well, easy to rinse, and leaves a fresh coconut scent that will linger for days, though the coconut scent is a little strong and overpowered the lavender scent, something that you might want to consider if you don’t like the smell of coconut.
This shampoo is a top choice among professional groomers to treat dogs with different skin conditions like dry and itchy skin, allergy skin, and sensitive skin. To be honest, I’ve never seen any other shampoos clean as well as Lilian Ruff Shampoo. It’s a little bit pricey, but this shampoo may become the best solution if other shampoos have failed.
5. Pro-Pet Works Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo
Pro-Pet Shampoo is specifically formulated and recommended for German Shepherds with allergies to food, grass, and flea bites.
It is mainly formulated with organic aloe vera and almond oils with no harsh chemical ingredients used. There is no alcohol, sulfates, added colors, or artificial fragrance used.
Aloe vera is an antifungal agent that rich in vitamins A, C, and E, and clinically proven anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral while almond oil is a great moisturizer that contains nutrients and vitamins to make your dog’s coat and skin strong, soft, and shiny. The combination of these two ingredients not only can clean your dog’s coat and skin but also alleviate many skin ailments such as hot spots, flea, dandruff, and yeast infection.
It uses all-natural ingredients with the full ingredients as follow: deionized water, surfactant blend derived from natural derivatives (coconut shampoo base), organic aloe vera extracts, almond oil, hydrolyzed oat proteins, Vitamins A, D and E, glycerin glyceral stearate, wheat germ glycerides, blend of cherry botanical extracts, EGDA.
To treat a skin condition, do two times shampooing. Do a light shampooing, rinse, then shampoo the dog again and let it sit for 5 minutes before rinsing the shampoo. The two times shampooing works well to get deep into your dog’s undercoat and get to the skin.
German Shepherd Coat Characteristics
German Shepherd is a dog that breeds mostly to do many different types of jobs that require them to spend most of the time outside such as sheepherder, police dog, an assistance dog, a therapy dog, a guard dog, and so forth.
Because of that, they develop a double coat with a short, medium, or long outer coat, and a thicker, undercoated fur, some German Shepherds even don’t have any undercoat fur at all. to protect them in all different weather conditions.
This thick, undercoat fur is what makes them quite prone to various skin problems compared with other dog breeds. If you choose the wrong type of dog shampoo, they would start to see skin outbreaks in forms of red, itchy skin and hair fall.
What To Look For When Picking a Dog Shampoo for German Shepherd?
Because German Shepherds’ skin is quite sensitive, you want to get a dog shampoo that uses as many natural ingredients as possible, if not all. It’s simple to see if any particular shampoos are made mostly from natural ingredients or chemical ingredients, just skim through the ingredients label.
When you look at the ingredient labels, you want to see:
- There are no artificial fragrances or colors or any preservatives.
- There are natural fragrances (chamomile, lavender, eucalyptus, and citrus) used not chemical fragrances.
- A dog shampoo that contains natural skin moisturizers such as vitamin E, aloe vera, honey, oatmeal, and tea tree oil.
- A dog shampoo that is pH balanced with pH value as close to 7 as possible.
Why is pH 7 So Important for Your German Shepherd?
A pH is a value that measures how acidic or basic a certain substance is. It is measured from scale 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral.
A pH less than 7 is acidic where each whole pH value below 7 is ten times more acidic than the next higher value. A pH greater than 7 is basic where each whole pH value greater than 7 is ten times more alkaline than the next higher value.
For example, pH 5 is ten times more acidic than pH 6 and 100 times (10 times 10) more acidic than pH 7. The same holds true for pH values above.
The pH of a dog’s skin is about 7.5, so you want to get a dog shampoo that is formulated with a pH as close to 7 as possible. If you use a dog shampoo that has a pH of less than 7, the shampoo will become too acidic for your dog’s coat and skin. Over time, the shampoo will irritate your dog’s coat and skin, strip away the dog’s skin natural oil resulting in dry, irritated skin, and dull coat.
This is the reason why you must NEVER use human shampoo on your dog because human shampoo has a pH of around 4.5 – 5.5. The shampoo will become too acidic for your dog!
Other Qualities that You Want to Look For
These are the other additional qualities that you want to see:
- The shampoo is soap-free. Soap is bad for your dog since it can dry your dog’s skin and coat, remove the skin’s natural oils, and leave an irritating and drying residue.
- The shampoo uses hypo-allergenic cleansing ingredients.
- It should also be easy to rinse out so there is no residue left behind that can irritate and dry your dog’s skin and coat.
- And last but not least, the shampoo should not use or use less paraben, sulfates, and other potentially harmful chemical ingredients.
You will often see a dog shampoo that is labeled as a natural or organic dog shampoo meaning that dog shampoo uses natural ingredients only. But just to be sure, check out the ingredients list first following the guidelines above.
German Shepherds Grooming Guide
Bathing alone is not enough, to keep your German Shepherd’s coat and skin stay clean and shine, you need to do frequent grooming too. Frequent grooming is even more important for double-coated dog breeds like German Shepherds because they shed throughout the year. If you groom your dog well on a frequent basis, you can minimize the excess hair that sheds from your dog’s coat.
Just follow these 5 simple steps to groom your German Shepherd effectively:
1. Brush your GSD regularly
Double-coated dogs like German Shepherds need to be brushed 3-4 times a week to keep their coat shiny and free from loose hair. German Shepherds are a breed that sheds regularly throughout the year which means if you don’t brush your dog regularly, you will end up finding a lot of furballs in your home.
Excessive bathing is not recommended for double-coated dog breeds like German Shepherds unless they have developed skin problems such as fleas and ticks. Excessive bathing will make your GSD’s skin dry, flaky, and irritated. For most GSDs, once or two times per month are enough.
Your GSD’s teeth need to be cleaned regularly from tartar and plaque using dog-friendly toothpaste. You can also feed your dog hard cookies or kibbles to keep his teeth and gums clean.
4. Trimming Toenails
You should check and trim your dog’s nail regularly, at least once a week.
You should also check and clean your dog’s ear from excess debris and wax once every week.
1. How often should a German Shepherd be bathed?
A German shepherd with healthy coat and skin only needs to be bathed once every 4-5 months. You want to avoid over-bathing as it can strip the coat’s natural oils and leave the skin dry.